Colombia: The transition to long lasting peace needs a strong and credible human rights strategy

Between 27 February and 1 March, SOLIDAR’s Spanish member MPDL (Movement for Peace, Disarmament and Freedom) - active in Colombia since 1994 - and the Director of their Colombian partner - HUMANAS* – were in Brussels for a round of meetings** with MEPs and EU officials to raise awareness about the current political context in Colombia, the role of Civil Society Organisations and Human rights defenders to ensure peace and stability in the country and the risks they face in their everyday work.

On 12 November 2016, after almost five year of negotiations between the government of Colombia (GoC) and the FARC, the Final Agreement for the Ending of Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace was signed. This year will set the basis for the implementation of the agreement: the involvement of women and human rights defenders organisations will be indispensable to ensure that this happens.

The EU has played a very active role in the peace process and will be a key player in ensuring that the agreement is implemented. With this in mind, in their meetings with EU representatives, MPDL and Humanas stressed the need for the EU – through its political dialogue with the GoC, its development cooperation and trade policy- to support:

  • Access to land for women: Among the different aspects of the Peace agreement, the EU has agreed to support the implementation of the chapter dealing with rural reform. In this framework, the EU needs to ensure a strong emphasis on access to land for women and victims of violence; 
  • Security for human rights defenders: Since the signing of the peace agreement to date, more than 20 social leaders have been killed. The EU has to keep a strong focus on the protection of human rights defenders and their organisations that for years have denounced serious violations of human rights and have assisted the victims of the conflict.
  • Eradication of paramilitarism: In many areas of the country and namely in the areas where the FARC has withdrawn, paramilitary groups have started to take control. The EU has to support the Colombian CSO’s call to the GoC to eradicate these groups in every areas of the country.
  • Support the victims of sexual violence: According to official figures, today there are about 19,000 victims of sexual violence committed in the framework of the conflict. This situation is exacerbated by the victims’ difficulty in, among others, accessing their rights to justice, protection, health, and integral reparation. This theme and the population affected should be included in the priorities of the EU’s programmes and policies in the country.

SOLIDAR together with its members and partners in the field will keep working to ensure that the respect, the protection and the promotion of Human Rights is the common, indispensable ground for all EU domestic and external policies.





* The visit has been realised with the support of AECID in the framework of the project "Prevención de la violencia sexual en el marco del conflicto y protección de los derechos sexuales y reproductivos en Colombia".

**EU representative met include: Mr. Antonio Panzeri MEP, chair of the EP DROI sub-committee; Ms. Elena Valenciano MEP; Ms. Marina Albiol MEP; Mr. Adrianus Koetsenruijter, head of division, Americas, EEAS; Ms. Alicia Rico Perez del Pulgar, Policy Officer for Colombia, EEAS; Ms. Mercedes Garcia Perez, head of division, Human Rights; Mr. Andrea Rossi, Human Rights, EEAS; Ms. Martha Mendez, DEVCO, B1.





Photo © Source: Corporación Humanas Colombia Facebook page.

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